Sunday, December 30, 2012

Annual Update

It's not that I planned to update only once a year, but so it goes...

I am still playing WoW sporadically, taking occasional breaks which can last a while.  Hugs is a level 19 guild, thanks to the recent changes which make guild experience accumulate faster.  Any character at level 85 or higher was leveled solo or as part of a team on a different server.

The guild has all of the professions covered (with most of them higher than 550) and the guild bank has around 80,000 gold.  Blizzard has worked to make gold almost irrelevant-- there aren't many things that you have to buy (riding training being the primary one) and gold accumulates quickly, especially past level 80.  In addition to the Cash Flow perk, each guild challenge you complete also puts extra gold into the guild bank.  Clearing a level-appropriate dungeon adds 125 gold to the bank each time, with a limit of seven such deposits a week.  As the teams get to level 90 I'll try scenarios as well, but it will be a while before that happens.

The highest team is comprised of hunters, who are 72.  I just replaced one with Tonuss, a shaman.  I want to get this team to 90 together and try dungeons and scenarios along the way, and it made sense to pair them up now.  My favorite team is a tank-spec monk and four shaman (three elemental, one restoration).  Four elemental shaman could do the job just fine at this level, but having the standard complement makes it easier to practice running the team through dungeons.  And recent changes mean that resto gets all of the fun healing tools.  Riptide is a very useful heal to have at any level (and with the new glyph, it's a spammable HoT), and she'll have Earth Shield very soon.

Elemental shaman continue to be a good class for those new to multiboxing, or who are struggling with other classes.  They have good armor and can cast heals if things get a bit out-of-hand.  They have good sustained DPS for PvE play, and some passive damage and utility.  Searing Totem provides targeted DPS (it will only attack a target the shaman is attacking, no more blindly firing at anything within range).  Healing Stream still stacks and can provide significant healing that way, but it is no longer a "drop and forget" totem.  It has a 15 second duration and a 30 second cooldown, making it a situational tool.

I have also discovered the fun of melee teams, and have created several (shaman, paladins, death knights) but there is a lot of work to do before I am proficient with them.  Mostly setting up key-binds and macros and a few tricks to make sure that they stay on target while fighting.  But that will have to wait, since the ranged teams are still fun and taking up a lot of play time.

I wouldn't think there was much else to enjoy after eight years, and the truth is that the game play is pretty much what it was back in 2004 (kill 8 creatures, collect 12 drops, pick 5 items up from the ground).  But the changes to class mechanics and my own exploration of play styles that I hadn't tried has kept things fresher than expected.  2013 may see a few more blog updates than the last two years have.